More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Sen. Majority Leader Pens Letter to President Advocating Repeal of DADT; Pentagon Publishes Its Own Critique
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has asked the president to bring recommendations on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to congress in a letter dated Sept. 24, The Huffington Post reported on Thursday.
Reid, who supports the repeal of DADT, stressed that barring LGB people from serving openly in the military critically weakens our nation’s forces during a time of war:
It has become clear that a number of individuals with skills essential to winning our struggle against terrorism and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – such as Arabic linguists and intelligence analysts—have been forced to leave the Armed Forces as a result of the current policy. At a time when we are fighting two wars, I do not believe we can afford to discharge any qualified individual who is willing to serve our country.
Reid went on to say that “the time has come for the military and civilian leadership of the U.S. government to review DADT and evaluate whether the policy is in the best interests of our country.”
Reid’s appeal to President Obama came just days before the Pentagon’s top publication Joint Force Quarterly, the official paper of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, published a 7-page spread criticizing DADT. That article, titled “The Efficacy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’,” takes Sen. Reid’s evaluation a step further and insists that the time for repeal has come:
It is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.
The article takes on DADT from all angles, and ultimately concludes that the policy “has been costly both in personnel and treasure… [and] ultimately more damaging to the unit cohesion its stated purpose is to preserve.”
In an article published in The New York Times on Wednesday, reporter Elisabeth Bumiller noted that the article marks an “unusual show of support for allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly.”
Bumiller also clarified that while the article “carries no weight as a matter of policy,” it may, however, "signal a shift in the official winds.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, reportedly reviewed the piece prior to its publication, but had no comment on the article when asked for his opinion by the Times.